TheMMQB Mock Draft 12.0: 4 Trades Provide Variables For Browns
Four trades, none of them involving the Cleveland Browns, created an interesting dynamic for the team in Kevin Hanson's lastest mock draft from TheMMQB. The results of the draft ultimately work out for what the Browns appear to want to do, but while it seems feasible, the first round selection seems to depend on the second round happening, which is a substantial gamble to take.
The first thing that happens is that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers trade up with the Jacksonville Jaguars, getting the ninth pick, and selecting Andrew Thomas, the offensive tackle from Georgia. Thomas is believed to be a prized target for the Browns, so that would be understandably frustrating. As a result, Hanson has the Browns then select Isaiah Simmons, the do-it-all defensive player from Clemson.
10. Cleveland Browns: Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
If Simmons is still on the board here, the Browns should run their pick up to the virtual podium. The converted safety won the Butkus Award, given to the nation's top collegiate linebacker, but he’s a defensive chess piece that has lined up nearly everywhere. Testing off the charts by running a 4.39 in the 40 at 238 pounds, Simmons has sideline-to-sideline range and playmaking ability.
It's not say the Browns couldn't take Simmons. They certainly could. The issue here is that considering what the Browns really want to accomplish in the first round, getting their left tackle of the future, they would seem more inclined to ransom off Simmons to the highest bidder. They have likely already discussed scenarios where teams are trading up for the ability to select Henry Ruggs III, the wide receiver from Alabama.
It's possible the Browns ultimately decide that Simmons the player is worth more than what teams are offering them in trade, selecting him to be a big part of their defense under new coordinator Joe Woods. It just seems the Browns are not only focused on completing their offensive line, they would like to acquire additional draft assets in the process.
The Browns might be more inclined to trade down, get additional assets and then select Josh Jones, the offensive tackle from Houston. He's an excellent prospect who played in a zone scheme for the Cougars and had an outstanding senior year, becoming an excellent pass protector. If the Browns can get more out of him as a run blocker and finisher, he can be a tremendous finishing piece to their offensive line.
Hanson does get credit for resisting the urge to have the Browns select Mekhi Becton from Louisville. They just do not seem like a good match.
41. Cleveland Browns: Ezra Cleveland, OT, Boise State
This is a dream scenario for the Browns. Ezra Cleveland is an otherworldly athlete that is suited to play in their wide zone scheme. He's got prototypical length for the position, tremendous movement skills and while there are issues he still has to iron out, he also seems like he could be the ideal piece of clay for offensive line coach Bill Callahan to mold.
Whatever issues Cleveland has and there are both technical and effort questions that have to be sorted out, players like him simply don't often last in the NFL Draft. Kolton Miller was a freak athlete coming out of UCLA with all kinds of issues on tape and was still selected 15th overall in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Cleveland is a hair less explosive, but offers a little more agility than Miller did. And even though this class has a historic supply for offensive tackles, it's still a position that is always scarce and they tend to go faster than expected. Not impossible, but it's difficult to believe that Cleveland would somehow last all the way to 41st pick. And in a scenario where the Browns select Simmons, they would likely be working the phones to try to trade up from 41 to get their offensive tackle, perhaps figuring out a way to make it work, but that would come with some additional expense.
74. Cleveland Browns: Ashtyn Davis, S, Cal
The Browns definitely need to find their free safety for the future, signing Andrew Sendejo as a temporary measure. Ashtyn Davis could certainly fit the ball as a rangy safety that is accustomed to play in space. Davis has been a two-sport athlete at Cal, playing football and running track.
Unfortunately, he wasn't healthy to participate at the NFL Scouting Combine. His speed isn't a question, but teams may have had to get creative in terms of verifying his health and his agility.
Davis's on ball production is low and teams will have to square that with his responsibility on the field. Most of the time, Davis was playing in a deep center field, responsible for covering a ton of ground in a more preventative role as opposed to a playmaking one. The Browns are going to play far more two-high sets, so they have to determine if Davis can be that type of playmaker, but he should have the movement skills to be able to cover, which is something Woods covets in his safeties.
97. Cleveland Browns (via HOU): Davon Hamilton, IDL, Ohio State
It would be great if the Browns can find a three-tech defensive tackle to fill out their defensive line, potentially giving them a seventh viable member of a defensive line that currently includes Myles Garrett, Olivier Vernon and Adrian Clayborn on the edge with Sheldon Richardson, Larry Ogunjobi and Andrew Billings on the interior. Another player that can play on the inside and impact the quarterback would be great.
The question is whether that's Hamilton or not. He wasn't particularly productive, especially when it came to making tackles. Hamilton also tested pretty poorly at the scouting combine and projects more as a nose.
Two alternative defensive tackles that might be of more interest to the Browns could be Melvin Agim from Arkansas or Larrell Murchison from N.C. State.